King of the automotive conquests: Hyundai Sonata

27 Jun 2011 IHS Markit Automotive Expert

"Looks Like a Million Bucks. Starts Under $20,000." That's Hyundai's tagline for the 2011 Sonata and it's working. In the first quarter of the 2011 calendar year, the Hyundai Sonata conquested more owners than any other car in the U.S. marketplace-18,587 to be exact. Ford F-Series was the only vehicle with more total conquests during the same time period (20,483). Perhaps even more impressive is that for every 100 Sonata owners it loses when they return to market, Hyundai gains 365 from other brands. Of the top five models (determined by total conquests) in the first quarter, the Honda CR-V was the only other model with a positive Conquest / Defection ratio.

The table below depicts total conquest by model for the first quarter of 2011 and the associated defection volumes, Conquest / Defection ratios and the net units gained / lost.

RankMake / ModelConquestsDefectionsC/D RatioC/D Net
1Ford F-Series20,48321,8850.94-1,402
2Hyundai Sonata18,5875,0953.6513,492
3Honda Accord16,86019,1340.88-2,274
4Honda Civic15,55216,0380.97-486
5Honda CR-V15,0349,7311.545,303
6Chevrolet Silverado14,33423,1020.62-8,768
7Toyota Prius12,6735,2392.427,434
8Volkswagen Jetta12,5147,0531.775,461
9Toyota Camry11,89319,3850.61-7,492
10Nissan Altima11,66212,2920.95-630

In fairness to the competition, the Sonata does not have nearly the volume of owners returning to market, so the evaluation of performance based on the Conquest / Defection ratio may not be the most appropriate measure, but there is no denying that the Sonata is conquesting owners from both competitive and non-competitive brands. Of greater concern for the competition is Hyundai's ability to keep owner's loyal to the brand with over 50% buying another Hyundai vehicle.

Conquest/Defection (C/D) Ratio - represents the total number of owners who were conquested divided by the total number that defected. C/D ratios are typically used to assess the competitiveness between brands (e.g., when evaluating Honda against Toyota, a C/D ratio of 1.2 would indicate that for every 100 defections from Honda to Toyota, Honda conquests 120 from Toyota). Numbers greater than 1.0 indicate a healthy organization or competitive strength with more conquests than defections.

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